Oct 28

Runner’s World Race Report – The Hat Trick (5k, 10k and Half Marathon!)

Way back in February of this year, when I received the email that would change my training trajectory for 2015, I never dreamed I would be running four races over three days in Bethlehem, PA as part of a blogger group, three weeks before running the NYC marathon.


I was all set to make 2015 the year of the triathlon and then got the news of “qualifying” and therefore gaining entry to the NYC Marathon – an opportunity I could not pass up. So, 2015 turned into the year of running…I just had no idea how much running that would be!

*I put qualifying in quotes since I ran exactly one half marathon in NYC in 1:29 which apparently was fast enough to give me an entry into the NYC marathon. I had no clue this was even a possibility when I ran the half in March of 2014.

My qualifying half marathon in NYC, March 2014. I absolutely loved this race!

Blissfully unaware I was running a qualifying half marathon in NYC, March 2014. I absolutely loved this race!

The Schedule

Because of the amazing influential power of this blog, I was invited by Runner’s World (along with about 18 others) to join them for their half marathon festival weekend. In exchange for entry and accommodations, we tweet, Instagram, Facebook and otherwise tout all the highlights of our weekend, of which there were oh so many! I love it when a sponsor makes my job easy.

Thursday: Arrival and dinner with editors/staff Bart Yasso, Deena Kastor, Amby Burfoot and others at Runner’s World HQ

Friday: 3.8 mile trail race which I reviewed last week and miraculously finished third female overall.

Saturday: 5K race at 8:00am, 10K race at 9:30am

Sunday: 13.1 half marathon at 8:00am

It was a challenging schedule but I figured I would either be doing a 23 miler by myself or I could run 26.2 over the course of 3 days with blogger friends and running legends. Seemed like an easy decision but time will tell if I made the right one.

Just happily running through the woods during the Altra Trail Race on Day 1.

Just happily running (walking?) through the woods during the Altra Trail Race on Day 1.

The Five and Dime aka 5k and 10k

I was already dragging after a late night on Thursday (with thoughts of meeting Olympians and famous-to-me RW editors dancing in my head) then a long day on Friday, with the Altra 3.8 mile trail race mid-day, and then running around to clean-up, get to the expo and have dinner Friday night. By the time I got back to my hotel room it was all I could do to lay out my clothes for the next morning and brush my teeth.

My alarm went off at 5:45am Saturday morning, and we gathering in the lobby, sleepy and cold, around 6:30am to head over to the race start.

Everything about the race was extremely well organized and was exactly as it should be:

– Bag check was right near the finish/start line.

– Indoor bathrooms and waiting area was very close to the start line.

– Corrals by pace time were large, visible and even adhered to by the other runners!

– Water/gel stations were plentiful and volunteers were enthusiastic.

– The courses were all very well marked and were beautifully laid out, although they could have been flatter!

Pre-5k start with Laura at Mommy. Run Fast! We did baby...we did.

Pre-5k start with Laura at Mommy. Run Fast! We did baby…we did.

I decided I was going to race the 5k and take it easy on the 10K. When the gun sounded at the start of the 5k I took off! I was cold and wanted to get warm and get this first race done!

Splits: 6:39 (hills!), 6:18, 6:18, 5:59

Finish: 20:12

Place: First in age group 40-44 and first in masters (over 40) division

I am a mouth breather.

I am a mouth breather. And, I was playing mix and match with my outfits all weekend so that’s my excuse for this hot mess.

Although I thought I had a faster 5k in me, I had to remember that this was all part of my marathon training, and I was not tapered by a long shot, for any of these races. The plan was for all of them to be hard and they were. I was so mad I didn’t make the 19 minute cut off but was super happy about placing and winning my division.

In between races there was time to go to the bathroom, a quick snack, a picture (of course!) and back we went to the start line!

Representing Lake Winni!

Representing Lake Winni!

If you recall, I forgot the charger to my Garmin vivoactive and no one else had my watch. I was desperately trying to conserve the battery for Sunday’s half marathon so I did not use it for the 10K.

Running though my head in the 10K

First mile: OMG am I seriously racing again? < – – this was a recurring thought

Second mile: This seems like a long way. I mean, four more miles?

Third mile: Why is this course so f**** hilly?

Fourth mile: Time to speed up legs are feeling good!

Fifth mile: Why do I feel like I have to speed up? Why can’t I just run easy like some of these people around me? They look so happy and content and I’m breathing like a maniac.

Sixth mile: Thank you sweet baby Jesus, I can see the finish line…again.

Immediately after crossing the finish: Well that wasn’t so bad…oh no wait…I have to run a half-marathon tomorrow?

Finish time: 46:37/ 7:30 per mile pace

Place: Won my age group and masters division

With my bling...after showering and changing!

With my bling…after showering and changing!

Half Marathon | 13.1

It was like Groundhog Day – wake-up early, pack a gear bag, change your mind about your running outfit no less then three times, eat, drink coffee and meet group in the lobby.

Miraculously my watch made it to the half! I have to say this, the Garmin vivoactive battery is insane! I last charged it the Tuesday prior to the weekend. Tuesday! I wasn’t sure if it would make it all the way though the race but I was hoping it would get me past the hilliest sections which we were told were miles 3, 5, and 7.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 6.37.19 AM

Doesn't this look like fun for the 4th race? You know it.

Doesn’t this look like fun for the 4th race? You know it.

We were warned about the hills. We raced pretty hilly courses in the 5k and 10k. We were ready.

Ok, that’s a lie.

I was a little worried about my legs since they were definitely tired on Saturday morning but I reminded myself that this was the plan! I wanted to run on tired legs because HELLO last six miles of the NYC marathon!

I lined up where I never have before – – > at the 8:30 pace mark. It felt warm and fuzzy and oh-so-doable.

My first mile was 8:26 and I felt like a million ducks. Yes, ducks. So I picked up the pace and never looked back!


Zooming right along! Did I mention we received all of these pictures for FREE courtesy of Altra? Just another thing to love about this event!

I cannot tell you what kind of amazing transformation happened in my legs or if all my long runs and hard marathon training finally paid off, but I felt great!

The entirety of the race was what I would describe as “comfortably hard.” I wasn’t pushing for a PR (and I was far from it) but I held a 7:30 pace well and without overexerting myself.

This was a massive confidence boost going into my last two weeks before the NYC Marathon. I so needed to feel as well as I did in the final miles of this hilly half:


Not only did my Garmin battery survive the race, it made it all the way back to my home (a four hour drive!) and still was about 10% charged when I was able to slap it on the charger. I love this watch as if it was a lost triplet to my twins. #NotEvenKidding

We did it! BOOM!

We did it! BOOM!

Although this may be my slowest half-marathon to date, it was just the race I wanted to run.

Finish time: 1:39:00/ 7:33 pace

Place: 6th in my age group

Overall Thoughts and 2016

This was seriously one of the best weekends of running I have ever experienced! I do not say this lightly because it was definitely a lot of racing. But, meeting Deena and Bart and touring Runner’s World aside – these races were all so well organized, the location was beautiful and convenient and I really want to go back next year with some of my best running friends.

Cheers to downtown Bethlehem breweries and drinking in the afternoon!

Cheers to downtown Bethlehem breweries and drinking in the afternoon!

If you are looking for a weekend of running for all abilities, look no further. You can pick and choose the races you want or challenge yourself to run them all! < – – I highly recommend this one.

For me, I like to view this weekend in it’s entirety, combining all four races. I would like to go back next year and beat my overall time and win the hat trick. I’m not sure but I think I may have come in second for the three races – 5k, 10k and half marathon – in the masters division. Of course next year I should be rested and raring to go!

Have you ever done back to back (to back to back) races? Would you?

What is the most well organized race you have run?

Do you want to go with me next year?


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  1. Britt@MyOwnBalance

    Congrats on all your amazing finishes! Sounds like a truly fun weekend. Your Garmin sounds great! My Apple Watch has the worst battery. It needs to be charged constantly and if you leave it out of the charger overnight, it will be dead when you wake up!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Advanced Pilates Exercises for Your CoreMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Seriously? That is horrible. Sometimes I think Apple rushes things to market before they are ready and then you have to buy the “update” which is really what the first version should have been. I seriously love this Garmin and the battery life is amazing!!

  2. Hollie

    I’m so happy the races went well for you and were huge confidence boosters for NYCM this week! I could not believe how hilly that half was…I felt as if I was just telling myself “only one more hill” the entire race.
    Hollie recently posted…Bone Run 3.05m (18:11)My Profile

    1. vita88

      OMG I know! Saying the hills stopped after mile 7 was a total lie. At least we will know what to expect next year 🙂

  3. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    So much fun! I’m so glad you got this opportunity because they could not have picked better social media representative to do it right!! I haven’t done back to back races but I will in February and that should be so interesting!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Dancing Bug Abs ExerciseMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Nellie!! I cannot wait for you to do back to back racing – SO much fun 🙂

  4. Jess

    Sounds like a life time experience, and to get pumped up and be surrounded by so much inspiration right before the NYC marathon- AWESOME!!!

    1. vita88

      It was ALL that and more! Thanks Jess.

  5. RFC

    You are so speedy! Congrats on all four races. I agree, the weekend is amazing, the courses beautiful, and the races so well organized…I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone! It was so great to meet you!!
    RFC recently posted…Runner’s World Half & Festival 2015: Five & Dime RecapMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You are too kind and it was so great meeting you too! I really enjoyed everyone on the blogger team – that was like a whole other part of the fabulous weekend.

  6. Anne Crone

    Hell yeah I want to go next year!!!

    1. vita88

      How fun would it be for me, you, Denise and Chrissie to go? SO MUCH FUN!

  7. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    Mission accomplished!!!! I’m so excited for you this weekend. You are going to dominate and your goals and then some. Like always, you raise me up!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…The Benefits of Massage for Runners {Giveaway}My Profile

    1. vita88

      LOL!!! It never gets old! I will have to think of that when things get ugly out there. Thanks so much Angela!!

  8. Danielle@T-Rex Runner

    So in summary, you won everything. Hooray! Glad you had a great weekend! I can’t wait to hear how NYCM goes for you! I know you’ll crush it.
    Danielle@T-Rex Runner recently posted…Four More YearsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      HAHAHA – not quite and I only really won for the old people category so, there’s that. Thanks so much Danielle!

  9. Paria@momontherunsanity.com

    This just sounds so amazing and fun! I have not done back to back races…. I would love to do this weekend and tour RW headquarters and meet Deena Kastor! And you just reminded me that 2016 is right around the corner. I can’t do everything I want every year, so I really need to sit down and come up with a plan for what I’m going to try to do each year (pick a few for each year) and then be happy with that plan! (As in not become incredibly jealous of people who are doing other things I would like to be doing as well)…. I love all your mismatched outfits btw:)
    Paria@momontherunsanity.com recently posted…Service is JoyMy Profile

    1. vita88

      First of all, thank you for saying that about my outfits 🙂 Second, I feel the same exact way about planning for the year. I really want to sit down and decide what races/conferences are most important, otherwise it’s overwhelming and you tend to miss out. I know, blogger invite or no, I will be at this event next year and I SO hope you are too!

  10. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    Your race photos are amazing!! And congrats again on 4 really solid races and such an awesome confidence booster before NYC. Cheering for you this weekend!!!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Perfect Ten Mile Race RecapMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you so much Laura! It was fantastic having you there and being able to cheer you on, complain to you and lean on you when things got rough.

  11. Danielle

    Wow congrats!!!! and I just gotta tell you, you have the BEST post race pic with your bling ever And talk about well earned!!!

    Yes I absolutely love well organized races, that’s gotta be my favorite.
    You are a human machine, I’m in awe and a little exhausted LOL but seriously what an amazing weekend.
    Danielle recently posted…Week in Review: Planking with Muffin, Mane Change, and RandomnessMy Profile

    1. vita88

      HAHAHA – thanks so much Danielle. I was seriously excited because I did not know I won the masters division 🙂 woot woot!

  12. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat

    Such an amazing weekend of running! I’ve done a half then a 5K and actually managed to PR the 5K..in a costume so there is that but I probably ran fast because I really wanted to be done and was dealthy afraid of my too small for me costume ripping 🙂
    I have very happy thoughts about the logistics of the Chicago marathon. Awful race personally but I would run it again in a heartbeat. I felt it was run the way a major should be.
    Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat recently posted…Totten Trot 5K RecapMy Profile

    1. vita88

      OMG now THAT is amazing! Congratualtions!!
      I’m sorry you didn’t have a good race in Chicago but it really helps when the events are so well organized. I guess you will just have to do it again 🙂

  13. Wendy

    Wow! You’re a rock star…don’t know if I can handle 3 races in one weekend. Congrats! YOu are going to rock NYC!
    Wendy recently posted…Hitting ResetMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You could totally do it! 🙂 Thank you!

  14. Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    Congrats on all your amazing races! You are going to dominate NYC this weekend – cheering you on!

    1. vita88

      Let’s hope the legs are feeling good and the mind cooperates 🙂 Thanks so much Laura.

  15. Claude

    WOW,WOW,WOW! Amazing, good on you SuperWoman! You’re HOT off the press on your own cover with bling, Deena, Bart and Amby all appearing. What inspiration, what memories to last a lifetime:). This was perfect prep for NYC, can’t wait to read about that one!
    2016 will be my year to race individual events, so yes, I’d like to race there with You. Only raced b2b running once (5k-10k), but many times swimming.
    Most organized race? I’d have to say Ironman Hi and NZ. 4running though, a most obscure 5k in Ventura: http://www.santatothesea.com
    it is also a 1/2 Marathon. I’ll be kicking off the racing year with this one in December. I love those races where runners mindfuly self-corral (how civil!), and the organizers assist adherence with well though out prep and flawless execution.
    It is not odd at all that your 1st Mile (13.1) was the slowest, and the last Mile was the fastest. In fact, I think your negative split was so spectacular precisely because you tested the waters that 1st Mile with the 8:30 corral; it gave your body the time to warm up and acclimate for the blitz to come. You were chomping at the bits because of that bib, but the brakes were on!
    If you watched the pros at Ironman Hi this year, both Women and Men walked some of the aid stations, yet held blistering paces.
    Not to worry, Triathlons will be happy to wait for you, You’ll just be that much more Awesome when you get there!

    1. vita88

      Thank you so, so much!! I do love when athletes line up where they are supposed to. Not sure I will ever be ready to tackle an IM but, if I do, I will know where to go!
      Good luck with all your training and racing and thanks again!

  16. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    You are freaking amazing and insane!!! Love it and love how strong you ran over the weekend. You inspire me endlessly.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Are You Ready to Make Your Move?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you so much Christine! I guess this is just what I do for fun 🙂

  17. Carly @ Fine Fit Day

    You are AMAZING!! And you are going to LOVE running NYC! I think the trifecta of races sounds waaaay more fun than a solo 23 miler. I loved every minute of your RW weekend updates. Wish I could be in NYC to cheer you on Sunday! xoxo
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…Apple PB Muffins and Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie – Recipes and Giveaway!My Profile

    1. vita88

      I wish you could be there too but I’m sure I will hear your voice in my head 🙂 Thanks so much Carly!

  18. Carly @ Fine Fit Day

    Oh, also? I love your hot mess outfit! I think it looks great. 🙂
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…Apple PB Muffins and Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie – Recipes and Giveaway!My Profile

    1. vita88

      HAHAHA – thanks 🙂 I try.

  19. Yum Yucky

    “training trajectory”? That is some Star Trek type lingo. You are truly out of this world.
    Yum Yucky recently posted…9 Signs You’re a Busy Mom Who Works OutMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You know it! To the moon baby!!!

  20. Dana

    I’m so pumped for you to run the marathon, Allie – you will be fabulous! As always, you recap in a way that keeps it interesting for non-runners…thank you!
    Dana recently posted…Positively awesomeMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Dana! That is truly the best complement. Please be sure to let me know when you become super bored!! 🙂

  21. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    Dude, I totally need to do this next year! I have been running all of the same races over and over, it’s time to spice the race calendar up a little!! And I’ll pray to the Runner’s World gods that they ask me to go next year, lol.
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Chocolate Almond Butter Protein Cookies and a Fit Body Bakery GiveawayMy Profile

  1. 7 Dream Destination Races Around the World - Fine Fit Day

    […] Weekend (the 5K, 10K, 3.8 mile trail race and the Half). Check out recaps from past participants Allie and Laura, who attended the 2015 […]

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